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The World in Medicine
August 12, 1998

Steroids and COPD

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JAMA. 1998;280(6):503. doi:10.1001/jama.280.6.503-JWM80005-3-1

The forbidden fruit of athletes—anabolic steroids—may benefit older, malnourished men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Researchers at the Federal University in São Paulo, Brazil, and the University of Toronto in Ontario have collaborated on a study of 23 malnourished men with COPD who were randomized to receive a placebo or testosterone and stanozolol. Both groups participated in muscle exercises.

After 6 months, the researchers reported that men in the anabolic steroid group gained 2 kg or more in weight than the controls. Their weight gain also was associated with significant increases in arm muscle, thigh circumference, and lean body mass. Detailed monitoring of biochemical, hormonal, and hematologic characteristics, as well as ultrasound assessment of prostate size, showed no adverse effects in the steroid group.

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